Morning Glory: A Short, Short Story

Milton ate his oatmeal with a dirty spoon. The undercooked clumps stuck to the roof of his mouth like flaky barnacles. But he didn't mind. He just added more syrup.
"Finish your breakfast," Milton's mother shouted from the next room, "we have to get going. And don't you dare mess up your good jacket."
Milton regarded the spray of sugar and milk on his trousers with a worried grimace. He didn't like making his mother mad. Especially today.
He cleared his unfinished bowl and milk-streaked glass then rushed to the bathroom where he locked the door and began furiously scrubbing at his black cotton pant legs.
With every scrape of the damp rag soggy oats mashed into the fabric creating larger and larger stains.
There was a knock at the door. Milton's mother's voice came thundering through from the other side.
"What are you doing in there? You're making us late."
Milton began to cry. His mother's voice grew louder.
"What's wrong with you? Open this door!"
Hot tears ran down Milton's cheeks and joined the smeared cereal on his pants.
"Milton! Open this door!"
Milton undid the lock and trembled as the door swung wide to expose his mother's reddened face.
"My god! Look at you! You're a shambles!"
Milton fell into a mess of choking sobs.
For a moment his mother stood over him, prickling with a palpable rage. He squeezed his eyes shut and waited for the inevitable slap.
He felt his mother's body kneel down near him, her arms encircled his shivering form.
"It's okay, baby," she said, broken, "I miss him too. But your brother wouldn't want us to be late to see him one last time, would he?"
Milton's swollen eyes peeped open and he saw his mother's tear-marked cheeks right in front of his own.
"I'm sorry, mommy," he whimpered, "I'm really, really sorry."
"Oh, baby," she whispered, "me too."
"He's in Heaven, right?"
"Honey, anywhere other than here has got to be pretty damn close to heaven."
She smoothed his hair and pulled him closer.
"Now go change your pants and let's get going. Your brother hated black anyway."


A Thing of Fragile Toughness

The beach in summer.
That’s how I knew I missed my Lucie.
Her skin looked browner than the sand itself.
Her smile always at the ready.
Sometimes I fashioned myself an inward image of her whole being made up of glittering pearls and oiled leather, a conglomerate beauty, a thing of fragile toughness.


Ugly Like an Eel

Locker rooms have always made me feel skinny. Too skinny. As if the whole point of being naked is to be bigger than somebody else. Particularly someone of the same sex. Every time I find myself visiting one it’s exactly the same as all of the others I’ve entered, like viewing a drab scene in a excruciatingly uninspiring submarine film over and over.
Walking in, my street shoes echo off of the tiles checkering the floor, the walls, even the ceiling, announcing the arrival of the runt with an ominously resonant sonar. I breathe in deeply, filling my lungs, attempting to make myself as large as possible, like a blowfish hoping to convince the whales that he’s part of the pod. I find an empty locker while trying not to catch anyone’s eye. It’s bad enough that they can see my bony knees, my lanky arms, my tiny waist, my chest full of air making my ribs press out like a pathetic seahorse.
As I remove my clothing I squeeze my eyes shut (as if this makes me invisible). My lashes matte together in the compressed heat and moisture of my shame and I beg them to stay that way as I remove my shirt, my pants, my briefs. I feel cold and meagre. I’d give anything to be wearing a full-body wetsuit.
I’d keep my blindness if I didn’t need to don my gym clothing. Unclenching my visual vice-grip the world is blurry, like seeing underwater. Murky, unintelligible life is happening all around me and all I can do is feel around the inside of my bag for my shorts, like a starfish probing the inside of its prey. As I redress I steal glances around the fluorescent tank of the sterile space observing the smattering of fellow “sealife”. There’s the lithe shark of a man in the shower: powerfully toned form covered in smooth skin which glistens in the cascading moisture. The svelte seal with his deep dark eyes and proud chest. Even the squat figure with the hulking triangular back reminds of a majestic manta-ray taking up space with shape and quiet authority.
I see myself in the floor-to-ceiling mirror. I am ugly like an eel. Smooth, slender, and awkward. No points of interest, no remarkable curvature or contrast of light and shadow. So elongated as to appear unsettling, I feel I make others uncomfortable at the mere sight of me. And I am powerless to change this. I’ve never been able to gain weight. Not from eating, not from exercise, not from biding my time. Thus I am cursed to remain agile, serpentine, an ultimately hideous creature. My own contempt prohibits self-pity. I feel a thousand eyes fixed on my suspicious movements, attributing them some sort of mischief.
As I finally leave the locker room, exiting the aquarium with its variety of beautiful beasts, it’s as if I’m breaching the waves for the first time and seeing the sun.


When we all realized it wasn't lined paper

While the moon spent time hiding from the stars (even though she be seen from the other side of the clouds) we spent time hiding from ourselves. But not from each other. We were too aware of the truth about one another. We loved in a way that permitted nothing short of naked, bloody honesty. Sometimes this felt dangerous, angry even. And yet somehow still delicate, gentle. Perhaps morose. But never torpid.

We would rather be drunk than dead. For that was the nature of us: seemingly stunted while secretly growing, secretly changing, secretly full of whatever we decided to call living, what we called life. It was a grand puzzle to anyone without love and imagination; without a hope in the world for a publishable signature (who has a signature really and truly worth publishing these days?).

Too many little birds are pushed from the nest without proper preparation.


She Didn't Bleed

Pip hated the sheets where her lover had left her.
They smelled like Joanna, they lay just like her on top of Pip's petite form: light and incidental, like a garment one only felt when they moved.
And they were beautiful to look at with their light blue gauziness and tiny embroidered white pansies all around the edges. Just like the pansies Joanna wore in her hair every single day, despite Portland's seemingly constant rain.

Pip stared spitefully at the baking orange bricks of the outer window sill. Of course it would be sunny the morning she lost three years, two family Christmases, and one more attempt at happiness.


For any who may care to know...

...I have begun a blog specifically designed to pertain to my up-and-coming move to New York.

Please to follow if you so desire.


Why so typical?
Humanity, so hubristic
And yet so pathetic.

God's wrath,
Not our own,
Solely justifiable,
Painted covetous red.

Bane of lost control,
Poison in the Community

For plants,



While I'm not sure just yet what I'm going to title this new endeavor, I'm intending on starting a new blog.
Beginning today, January 1st, its purpose is to document my journeying and rabble-rousing during this auspicious and pivotal year: my twenty-fifth.
I'll be turning twenty-four in less than a month and then I'll be rocketing into my quarter of a century.

I simply can't wait.